Ford dealer must put out planters

Jacobson Ford will be placing four planters at the front of the Ford Dealership building facing the highway – unwillingly.

Jacobson Ford will be placing four planters at the front of the Ford Dealership building facing the highway – unwillingly.

The local dealership applied recently to the city for a variance so that it would not have to install planters. They were part of a landscaping plan agreed upon in the fall of 2011 as part of its development permit.

Co-owner Mark Schneider pointed out at the Oct. 24 council meeting that the way vehicles are laid out in front of the building, the planters won’t be seen.

“I don’t think people are worried about planters; they just want to look at cars,” he said.

In a letter to council, co-owner Mike Vandermeer wrote to support the request. He said the planters would mean vehicles would have to be parked farther away from the building in an area that is already tight for traffic, they would mean higher maintenance costs for the company and they could be vandalized. He noted the business already has 250 metres of landscaped and treed frontage adjacent to its buildings.

Schneider said the planters required are four feet by four feet.

“It’s not a flower pot, it’s like a tree.”

Couns. Debbie Cannon, Denise Reimer and Chad Eliason voiced their support for keeping the planters, while Coun. Ken Jamieson and Mayor Nancy Cooper voted for the variance. Couns. Marg Kentel and Alan Harrison were absent.

Cannon suggested a higher planter and noted the business had already agreed to the plan. Eliason, too, referred to the earlier agreement.

“I was happy with this, the mayor and council were happy with this, the design review panel was in favour of this and staff were in favour of this.”

Jamieson said although he initially approved the landscaping plan, he changed his mind after looking at the site a couple of times since.

“I thing they (the planters) are not needed.”